SNACKING THE WRONG way can be a quick and easy way to get fat.
Sometimes when we think our stomach is legitimately screaming out for food, what we actually need is water, activity, entertainment.
It can be easy to confuse boredom or stress (or thirst) for hunger and while I’m not suggesting you go hungry, snacking is an easy way to rack up hundreds of extra calories pretty damn quickly.
Without realising it, you might have blown your daily calorie requirements on convenient, processed foods that are simply engineered in a lab to make you want, need and crave even more.
The only real difference between a snack and a whole meal should be portion size; it should still have a good balance of protein, carbs and fats.
It can be difficult to get enough protein into snacks, even homemade ones, but if you ensure you have adequate amounts in your main meals, your hard-earned gains will remain intact.
The take home message when it comes to snacking is this; stop and think about if you’re really hungry or just bored. If you’re bored — get up and do something active!
If you’re hungry then stick to natural, satiating foods. If possible, make them yourself so that you know the quality and quantity of what you’re putting in your body.
Check out some really easy snacks below that won’t have you doing laps of the health food store searching for ingredients.
So many paleo-type energy balls are laden with healthy, but calorie dense ingredients, which can be okay if you’re aware of it and your energy output requires it.
If not, swapping out some ground nuts for protein powder and using just a few dates instead of sugar or syrup are easy wins.
I usually make a batch of these the night before we go off hiking, handy to have as a little injection of energy.
Ingredients (makes 8-10):
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 8-10 pitted Medjool dates
- 40g cashew nuts (or whatever nuts you fancy)
- 1 heaped teaspoon raw cacao powder
- 1-2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (depending on consistency)
- 3-4 squares 75%+ dark chocolate
- Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan and add in the cacao powder.
- Whizz up the dates and nuts in a food processor/ Nutribullet and add to the wet mix.
- Add in the protein powder; the mix should have enough dry ingredients to hold together when you roll them into balls.
- Pop them in the fridge for an hour.
- Melt the dark chocolate and dip the balls in.
- Put them back in the fridge and job done.
Nutrition per protein ball (approx.):
- Protein – 6g
- Carbs – 18g
- Fats – 6g
If you’re a savoury kind of person, give these a try. So quick and easy and surprisingly satisfying; honestly!
- 1 bag of kale
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Pink Himalayan sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Rip the stalks off your kale and place on a sheet of grease-proof paper. Sprinkle with the melted coconut oil, salt and paprika and put them in the oven.
- After about 3-4 mins, take them out, toss them around and pop them back in. They should be crispy but still green. If they’re black, they’re burnt.
Nutrition per portion:
Lots of goodness.
You don’t need the macronutrient breakdown on this one, unless you go way overboard on the coconut oil. If you can’t enjoy some kale without worrying about logging it into ‘My Fitness Pal’, you might have bigger issues!
Want a quick way to curb a sweet tooth? Give this avocado mousse a go and don’t stress if you’re not an avocado kind of person, you wouldn’t even know they were in there.
However, if you prefer a richer chocolate flavour, simply add a bit more cacao.
These are really nice to serve up as a dessert as pop them into cute cups/glasses/bowls and fancy them up with blueberries, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and red currants.
The more colourful, the better!
Ingredients (makes 2 portions):
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
- 5 pitted Medjool dates
- Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
- Once again, put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz them up and spoon into your cups/bowls/glasses and refrigerate. Simple!
Nutrition per portion (approx.):
- Protein – 3g
- Carbs – 40g
- Fats – 10g
Still in need of healthy snack inspiration?
Try nut butter on apple slices, hummus and crudites or, if you need more protein; have two hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky or biltong.
If you’re really in a pickle; grab a protein bar (Fulfil or Quest bars are probably the only two I’d go near), most garages and shops will stock them but they’re honestly best to be avoided.
Sarah Cremen is a personal trainer and physiotherapist based in David Lloyd Riverview in Dublin. For more health and fitness advice and tips, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Alternatively, you can visit her website.
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